The Riverview-Cabrini United, Gold and Allen Park hockey teams played to a 3-3 tie in the first of two summer league games on June 20, 2024 at Southgate Arena. (SAMANTHA ELLIOTT – For MediaNews Group)

SOUTHGATE – While it was sweltering outside, it was pleasantly cool inside at the Southgate Civic Center, where local high school hockey teams continued their opening week of summer games Thursday night.

The games provide an opportunity for experienced players to maintain their game and skills over the summer, while aspiring ninth-graders or newcomers to the league can gain some experience before the start of the actual season.

In addition to new players, several new coaches from various schools were on the bench. Among them is Mike Windhurst, who is new to the helm of the Riverview-Allen Park Cabrini United team and was pleased with his team's 3-3 draw with Allen Park on Thursday.

PHOTO GALLERY: Ice Hockey – Summer League at Southgate Arena, 06.20

“It's only our second game, but I'm excited to be part of this team,” he said. “There's a lot of talent on this team.”

The annual summer league, traditionally held at the Kennedy Recreation Center in Trenton, began this week on Monday. It includes eight teams from Downriver and Dearborn, with each team playing two games a week for the next six weeks, with the usual off week in between.

Unlike typical winter season matches, summer games feature halves instead of periods – each lasting 22 minutes instead of the usual three 17-minute periods.

In the first of two showdowns on Thursday, Windhurst's Riverview-Cabrini team faced Allen Park at 7 p.m., followed shortly after by Brownstown Woodhaven taking on New Boston United.

Although Windhurst and his team are new to the RCU program this year, the team has been training together for nearly a decade and is excited about the opportunity to advance to the high school level.

After a tough outing in the 2023-24 season, Windhurst is pleased with the progress made so far in the summer season.

“The summer is an opportunity for these guys to continue playing together and give the new freshmen a chance to get their first taste of college hockey,” he said. “They're developing their chemistry and it's going to be fun.”

“They're getting used to us and we're getting used to them,” Windhurst added. “It will be interesting to see how we progress in the summer series.”

ice Hockey
Brownstown Woodhaven, white, earned a wild 11-4 victory over New Boston United in the second of two high school summer league games at Southgate Arena on June 20, 2024. (SAMANTHA ELLIOTT – For MediaNews Group)

In the second game, Woodhaven defeated New Boston United 11-4 in a game that featured a lot of 6-on-5 play on New Boston's side due to a goalie injury.

Led by New Boston Huron High School, NBU will compete next school year as a five-team cooperative consisting of fellow Huron League schools Carleton Airport and Flat Rock, as well as Dearborn Heights, Crestwood and Garden City.

Although Woodhaven coach Jeremy Klotz has only played two games, he is pleased with what he has seen so far.

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